Slate Flooring

Tuesday September 15, 2009
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Slate is a kind of stone that has been billions of years in the making. The base ingredients constituted clay deposits and ash mixed in the form of molten lava. The mixture finally dried into layers. Slate is quarried from great depths, can be split into slabs and then again into thin sheets. Slate is somewhat similar to shale, but far harder.

Slate is durable and stain resistant which makes it a great choice for flooring. It is ideal for high–traffic areas and places like kitchens and patio areas where there is a high incidence of spillage. Slate floors are impervious to most stains because the bonding strength of its elements acts as a barrier to penetration of liquids.

However oils and some acidic liquids like wines are liable to leave stains on slate flooring if left too long. To prevent staining, the spilt liquid should be wiped off as soon as possible. If further cleaning is required a cloth dampened with a mild cleaning solution of baking soda or vinegar diluted in water is adequate. Stains are largely contained because of the distinctive mixture of sand grains, fossils and crystals that go to make up slate floors.

Depending on where it is quarried, slate flooring comes in a surprisingly impressive variety of colors with a surface that reveals a rustic, textured appearance. The colors are generally dark with varying shades of gray and black. Slate floors are also available in rust, greens and maroons.

Because slate floors are durable and hard-wearing as it is ideally suited as flooring in high-traffic areas. It shows little wear even after several years of use. Slate makes a dramatic statement wherever it is used. Using a blend of different colors, slate tiles can be installed to create beautiful, intricate, eye catching patterns. In larger sections slate slabs can be installed to present an interesting rustic, rough–hewn appearance.

Slate floors are typically available in the following finishes:

  • Polished for the traditional smooth, glossy surface
  • Honed flat and smooth
  • Brushed for the open grained semi–polished look with chiseled edges for a rustic look
  • Aged or tumbled with a soft, unpolished, unfilled surface and uneven edges of a true rustic look

Because of its unusual texture, slate is naturally slip–resistant even when wet, for which it requires no special pre–treatment. Though it has a smooth surface, it can be sanded if required for a smoother surface. Slate flooring requires little maintenance. There is no necessity for heavy waxes and finishes as regular sweeping and mopping is usually all that is required. With this routine maintenance, slate flooring retains its natural beauty for several years.

Slate is generally more expensive than other flooring options. Nonetheless installation is relatively easy and very similar to that of ceramic tiles.

Additionally, slate tiles are often used to form paths for walkways and gardens. Slate tiles can be bought in irregular shapes which allow the decorator a fair amount of creative leeway.

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